Neutering Your Kitten
Male cats make much better companions if they are neutered before they reach maturity. The advantages of neutering your cat include:
- Less roaming. Intact adult male cats tend to disappear for days at a time, searching for females and staking out their territory. (They really are tomcatting around!)
- Less aggressive behaviour. Nearly all cats will fight, but most fights are between intact males. Fights lead to abscesses and the spread of disease.
- Less spraying. Intact male cats (and females) mark their territory by spraying walls or any other vertical surface. Neutered males are less likely to spray and their urine is not as strong smelling as an intact male’s is.
- Longer life. Because they get into fewer fights and do less roaming, neutered cats live longer than intact male cats do.
- Population control. Many cats are euthanized because they are unwanted. Preventing unwanted litters of kittens is part of responsible pet ownership.
The Best Time to Neuter
The best time to neuter your kitten is around six months. Many veterinarians prefer to wait until the kitten is around six months because he will receive a general anaesthetic for the operation. It’s preferable to neuter your kitten before he reaches maturity, however.
Castration vs Vasectomy
Sometimes feral cats are vasectomized and returned to their original location. This is done to reduce cat populations.
A vasectomy does keep the cat from impregnating a female. It doesn’t, however, stop his male behaviours. Roaming, aggression and spraying are driven by male hormones. In order to stop those behaviours, you have to remove the testes, or castrate the cat.
Your cat should not have any food after 8:00 pm the night before surgery. Neutering is major surgery and your cat will have a general anaesthetic. If he has food in his stomach when surgery is performed, he could vomit or choke.
You might want to consider having any or all of the following procedures done at the same time you have your cat neutered:
- Have him microchipped. Microchipping identifies your cat if he gets lost. If your cat goes outdoors, microchipping is a good idea.
- Having routine vaccinations given.
Your cat should be able to go home the same day he is neutered. Following are instructions for caring for your cat after you take him home:
- Offer only a small meal the first evening after surgery. The next day he can resume normal feeding. If he is not eating by the end of the second day, notify your veterinarian.
- Keep him indoors for the first night. Anaesthetic and painkillers may affect his balance and judgment.
- Every cat recovers from surgery on his own schedule. Allow your cat to control the amount of physical activity he wants to do for several days after surgery.
- If your cat licks excessively at the surgical site, please call your vet. The cat may need an Elizabethan collar to keep him from licking the site.
- Your cat will not have sutures. You may notice some swelling at the surgical site for a few days. If the swelling seems excessive, or if there is any drainage, contact your vet.
- Your cat will receive pain medication before he goes home. If you think he needs more pain relief, do not hesitate to call your vet.
Neutering your male kitten helps prevent unwanted litters of kittens, many of which wind up being euthanised. It also makes your kitten a better companion. He will be less aggressive, less likely to roam and — most importantly for many pet owners — he will be less likely to spray your home. Your neutered kitten will be a healthy, happy companion for many years to come.